School buses, crosswalks and sidewalks will be filled with students
next week, and police want drivers to stay alert.
Newport Coast Elementary School has a new access road and traffic
pattern to ease some of the snarls faced by the new school. But
officers from Newport Beach and Costa Mesa police departments will be
looking out for traffic trouble in school zones throughout
Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
"We really want people to watch out for kids who are out and
about, riding bikes and in crosswalks," Newport Beach Police Sgt.
Steve Shulman said. "Kids aren't out so much in the morning during
the summer as they are during the start of school, so we want people
to be vigilant."
The Newport Coast Elementary School loop road, which runs off
Newport Coast Drive and empties into the parking lot, is designed to
ease traffic woes -- like jaywalking children and long queues of cars
-- that plagued the school since it opened in 2001.
Since then, enrollment has doubled.
The road, scheduled to open Tuesday, was a contentious project,
with residents of the nearby community of Tesoro arguing that using
the road as a school entrance would hurt their property values and
damage their quality of life with vehicle noise and exhaust. Some of
the residents of that gated community, part of which sits on a bluff
about 50 feet above the road, threatened a lawsuit when the City
Council approved a construction contract in June.
Parents and city officials argued that the road would help the
safety problems caused by too many cars and children jamming into a
small area with limited access.
"I think it's certainly, given all the issues, the best compromise
the parties could conjure up," said Paul Reed, assistant
superintendent of business services for the school district. "With
cooperation from homeowners, staff, residents of Newport Coast, the
city and the district, I'm hopeful we have something that is much
One of the compromises included adding landscaping, like canopy
trees to camouflage residents' views of the road. Parents are also
paying for a crossing guard to watch pedestrian traffic at the
parking lot exit on Ridge Park Road.
That school is the only one in the district with a crossing guard
in the parking lot, Reed said. With the compromises in place, nearby
residents chose not to file the lawsuit, said parent Deborah
O'Connor, who initially opposed the loop road.
"We decided it was better to work with the school," O'Connor said.
Harbor View Elementary School and Davis Education Center will also
have modified traffic patterns when they open, Reed said. Both have
new areas for school buses to drop off children, away from the parent
At Harbor View, the bus turnout will also help ease the traffic
crunch on narrow Goldenrod Avenue. During drop-off and pick-up times,
cars could barely get by buses on that street, parent Meg Harrison
"It should help in the morning and afternoon," she said. "I'm
looking forward to it relieving the congestion [on Goldenrod
Police are asking drivers to be careful near all schools, however,
while parents and students adjust, or readjust, to the school
routine. Newport Beach Police will have extra officers and radar
speed trailers on streets to help remind people to look out for